Suicide Lawyer Skip Simpson Says Youth Suicide Prevention Effort in Wyoming Is A Step in the Right Direction

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Attorney Skip Simpson, a national expert in psychiatric malpractice, says the program is needed in a state which recently had the highest suicide rate in the nation.

With competent care, protection, and proper treatment, thousands of these victims could be alive today

Texas suicide lawyer Skip Simpson today said he was heartened by a national youth suicide prevention group’s effort to reach out to young people in Wyoming, a state that had the highest suicide rate in the nation in 2010.

The Jason Foundation, which provides training and other resources to help people recognize and respond to warning signs of suicide, opened its first Wyoming office last week, according to an Oct. 15 article in the Star-Tribune in Casper, Wyoming. The new office will be based in the Wyoming Behavioral Institute, a psychiatric hospital in Casper, according to the Star-Tribune.

“Psychiatrists, psychologists, and other mental health professionals often fail to provide the kind of care that they are trained and expected to provide,” said Simpson, an experienced lawyer in psychiatric malpractice cases. “This effort offers the state another tool to help protect at-risk kids from harming themselves.”

According to the Star-Tribune, the services provided by the Jason Foundation programs will remain separate from the ones the hospital already provides. The program provides education in the form of video- or web-based training. In addition, the Jason Foundation will push for a law in Wyoming that requires teachers to receive suicide-prevention training, according to the newspaper.

“Sadly, unless training is mandated school districts rarely train their school counselors on safety plans on how to respond to a student with suicidal thinking,” Simpson said. “I am personally aware of times when school counselors are alerted to a student thinking of suicide but failing to alert the parents. An uniformed parent can’t help their loved one get proper care without a warning.”

Tennessee, where the Jason Foundation is based, enacted the law in 2007. Since then, the suicide rate among young people in Tennessee dropped 31 percent. Clark Flatt created the Jason Foundation in 1997 after his 16-year-old son took his own life.

Wyoming, meanwhile, was ranked the Number 1 state in the nation for suicides per capita in 2010, with 131 deaths, or 23.2 per 100,000 people, according to Simpson.

Nationally, 38,364 people died by suicide in 2010, which is 105.1 deaths per day, according to Simpson. The national suicide rate began to increase from 2009 to 2010 after a long-term decline, Simpson said.

The vast majority of Americans who die by suicide suffer from a treatable mental illness or substance disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. “With competent care, protection, and proper treatment, thousands of these victims could be alive today,” Simpson said.
Unfortunately, Simpson added, most licensed professionals are poorly trained, or not trained at all, in the detection, assessment, protection and treatment of suicidal persons. This is the primary reason why training must be mandated by the state.

He said many agencies have called for improvements in training and education, but recommendations have largely been ignored by colleges and universities which have a duty to properly prepare mental health providers for their future responsibilities as professionals.
Any family who has suffered the loss of a loved one due to a loved one who committed suicide in a hospital or a psychiatric facility should seek the help of an experienced suicide attorney by calling (214) 618-8222 or visiting

About The Law Offices of Skip Simpson
For over twenty years, Skip Simpson has been practicing law, focusing on psychiatric and psychological malpractice, suicide lawsuits, as well as personal injury civil, commercial and criminal litigation. Nationally recognized for his expertise in suicide law, he is considered a pioneer in the field of suicide litigation and has represented families who have lost loved ones to suicide around the country.

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